Coronavirus and sex: What you need to know
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
- Dr Alex George is an A&E doctor and former Love Island contestant. Alix Fox is a sex journalist, presenter of BBC Radio 1's Unexpected Fluids show, and co-host of The Modern Mann podcast.
If I have sex can I catch coronavirus? You might have thought about it but been too embarrassed to ask.
To separate the facts from myths, we've put your questions to health experts.
Dr Alex George is an A&E doctor and former Love Island contestant. Alix Fox is a sex journalist, presenter of BBC Radio 1's Unexpected Fluids show, and co-host of The Modern Mann podcast.
Is it safe to have sex during the coronavirus outbreak?
Dr Alex George: If you're in a relationship… living with that person, and sharing the same environment, it shouldn't change your situation. However if one of you is displaying symptoms of coronavirus then you should maintain your social-distancing and isolate, even within your home. In an ideal world everyone would stay two metres apart - even in their own house, but we realise this may not be realistic.
Alix Fox: It's also really important not to assume that if you are experiencing mild symptoms of coronavirus it will be the same for your partner. So, if you're showing any symptoms whatsoever do try and stay away from your lover.
What about sex with new people?
Dr Alex: I certainly wouldn't advise having new sexual partners at the moment, because the risk is you could pass on the virus.
Alix Fox: Don't forget as well, some people who are carriers of the virus won't have any symptoms. So even if you feel absolutely fine… you could still pass on the infection to someone and they could pass it on to other people via close contact and kissing.
I kissed someone I recently met, and they've gone on to develop symptoms. What should I do?
Dr Alex: If you've kissed or been in contact with someone who you think has gone on to develop coronavirus, make sure you self-isolate.
Keep an eye on your symptoms. If you are developing symptoms, then be extra careful. Go online to the nhs.uk website. Only call the 111 service if your symptoms are so bad that you need medical support from us.
Alix Fox: We should be responsible with each other, and for ourselves in our relationships. If you're somebody who has developed symptoms, and you know that you've kissed people recently, you should let them know. And even if you've kissed someone and they've got symptoms and you haven't, you should also self-isolate.
I wasn't using condoms with my partner before coronavirus, should I start now?
Alix Fox: The answer depends on why you weren't using condoms.
If you weren't using condoms because you have both been tested for STIs, or you're in a heterosexual relationship prior to menopause and are using another kind of contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, then that's fine. But if you weren't using condoms because you were relying on something like the pull-out method - or you were taking chances with STIs - then it's even more important that you use condoms now.